Holiday Gift Guide for Runners
Looking for gifts for runners in your life? Do not panic! The RunGuides holiday gift guide is here to help with some gift ideas for runners that are guaranteed to be awesome!
Everything listed in this guide is something that we either use ourselves, or that our running friends have been recommending to us throughout the season.
Note that the prices that we have listed are in USD, and are based on the most recent prices that we've seen for things (so they may change).
Gifts for Runners in Training Mode
If the runner that you're looking to get a gift for is training for a specific race you can always pay for their race entry! Or, you may want to consider one of these gift ideas to help them train, stay motivated, recover, and celebrate their acheivements.
Run Doyen Coaching Call/Online Training
What is it: A one on one video call with some of North America’s top runners (we’re talking Olympians, and national champions). They’ll spend up to an hour giving a runner advice on their workouts, diet, basically anything related to their training!
Run Doyen offers a full range of online coaching services, so if you want to be really awesome you could also gift someone a custom training plan, or a season of online coaching ;)
Who to buy it for: The runner who has big goals in 2019 and wants to crush them!
Price: Coaching calls start at $39
Where to buy: www.rundoyen.com
What is it: Books! Mysterious things that you read! Three books that we have really enjoyed this year have been
How Bad do You Want It (Matt Fitzgerald)
This book revisits some of the most extraordinary moments from the history of endurance sports to show how mental strength allows some athletes to perform at a level way beyond their physical limits and to will their body to do what was previously thought biologically impossible.
The Happy Runner (Megan Roche & David Roche)
Following the “some work, all play” approach, The Happy Runner introduces the three commandments of happy running and teaches you how to balance the effort of running with the simple joy of the activity.
Endure (Alex Hutchinson)
Hutchinson, a former national-team long-distance runner and Cambridge-trained physicist, was one of only two reporters granted access to Nike’s top-secret training project to break the two-hour marathon barrier. He finds that lessons from shadowing elite athletes and from traveling to high-tech labs around the world are surprisingly universal and talks about them in this book
Who to buy it for: That running friend of yours who is looking for a bit of inspiration in their life. Or, get them to read The Happy Runner if you think they need to just chill out a bit.
Price: Roughly $20 - $30
Where to Buy: Amazon
What is it: Summit is Strava’s premium offering; a collection of advanced features focused on a purpose, whether it’s to improve your training, analyze your workout data or keeping you safe during activities.
Strava has a special link that allows you to gift Summit to a friend, giving them access to all of the summit features for an entire year.
Who to buy it for: The Strava friend who has given you the most kudos in the past 12 months
Price: $76.99 for a year
What is it: Yogaglo gives people access to hundreds of high quality yoga classes taught by some of the best practitioners in the industry. We've been using their service for for just over a year and love it.
They currently have an option to gift up to 12 months of membership.
Who to buy it for: Runners who keep putting off mobility as a priority, or who like yoga but dislike commuting to the studio.
GARMIN Forerunner 235 or Suunto Spartan Trainer
What is it: GPS running watches that track all of the necessary stats (pace, distance, elevation, heart rate, burger consumption ratio etc.). Both Garmin and Suunto offer a full line of watches with various levels of features. In our opinion the 235, and the Spartan trainer both have everything that a runner needs, at prices that won't break the bank. A number of RunGuides staff have these watches and are very happy with them.
Who to buy it for: Your running friend that is still estimating their run time based on the position of the sun.
Price: Garmin 235 - $199, Suunto Spartan Trainer - $195 - $230
What is it: It's a watch!
Who to buy it for: The runner that just wants to time themselves and doesn't need a $900 watch that mixes margaritas while they run.
Price: $15 - $30
Where to buy: Amazon, or most corner stores
What is it: Just like it sounds... it's a stick! The stick is a simple and effective portable muscle roller that can be used for warmup and recovery.
Who to buy it for: The always travelling destination runner in your life.
Price: $20 - $55
Where to buy: https://www.thestick.com/
What is it: The "do it yourself" home massage tool.
Who to buy it for: Everyone!! Our foam roller is by far one of our most highly prized and most used recovery items. If the runner in your life doesn't have one get on it. No need to go too fancy with these, a simple foam tube will be just as effective as most top branded rollers.
Price: $15 - $30
Where to buy: Do some googling, there are 10,000,000 foam rollers for sale online.
What is it: Lacrosse balls are cheap, easy to find, and incredibly effective recovery tools! Many companies sell specially labelled "myofascial release" balls, go with a standard lacrosse ball. It's the same thing, but will be half the price.
Who to buy it for: Anyone who says "tennis balls are okay but I just can't get the right pressure."
Price: $5 - $10
Where to Buy: Amazon or any sports store
CBD Arnica Salve
What is it: A CBD oil based rub to help with post workout relief of little aches and pains. CBD based creams have quickly become a favourite recovery tool for most of the high milage people that we know. In the words of one of our staff “this is magic stuff!”
Also, no, this will not get you high. CBD is a non-psychoactive, legal hemp compound. We would, however, recommend that you double check any travel laws before you start blasting across the border with crates of it. Some countries are weird about this sort of thing.
Who to buy it for: Anyone who has a habit of popping ibuprofen after their hard workouts
Price: Usually in the $30 - $40 range
Where to Buy: There are a number of different products online. We happen to be using this one https://www.risingsunranch.com/product/cbd-arnica-injury-salve/
What is it: Body glide (aka magic anti-chafing tubes) are tiny personal sticks of that have been making running a lot more comfortable.
Who to buy it for: There aren't many runners who won't appreciate this. Buy it like you would apply it... liberally.
Where to buy: www.bodyglide.com
What is it: Runners’ feet get pretty grimy after hitting the road/trail for awhile. Foot powder can help de-stinkify socks and shoes, and, it’s a great way to prevent blisters (less moisture = less chafing = less sadness).
We tend to use no name baby powder, but also really like the T for Toes foot powder that LUSH puts out. If you’re buying this as a gift go with that, it’s a bit more exciting.
Who to buy it for: Your sweatiest running friend. Anyone with smelly run socks.
What is it: Marathon maps are personalized print series that include a runner's name, time, bib number, and details about the race and the race course. We have two companies that we recommend; Run Ink, and Sportymaps.
Run Ink Marathon maps are created by the Boston-based design studio JHill Design and are available for pretty much any race!
Sportymaps offer a similar service, with a more minimalist look.
Who to buy it for: The runner who just completed that big goal race they've been training all year for.
Price: $20 - $80
Apparell that Runners Always Need
Socks may not sound exciting to most people, but when you're constantly buying $40 sets of specialty athletic socks/undwear the prospect of receving them as gifts becomes quite intriguing. These gift ideas are based around items that all runners tend to go through, all the time.
Stance Running Socks
What is it: High quality, comfortable, durable, run socks that also happen to have really cool designs. These were the unanimous “top sock” pick across our staff.
Who to buy it for: All runners. Seriously. You can NEVER gift enough running socks to runners.
Price: $20 - $50 per pair
Where to buy: https://www.stance.com/running-socks/
What is it: Cheap, great looking sunglasses with weird names that are comfortable, don't fog up, and stay on your face while you run.
Who to buy it for: The runner in your life that loves colors, but loses half their body weight in sunglasses each year (buy them 4 pairs and they’ll be set for awhile)
Price: $25 - $35 per pair
Where to buy: https://goodr.com
What is it: Things that you put on your hands so that they don't freeze! There's no real universal consensus on best glove, especially since the weather that you/the person you're buying for runs in is going to determine how much glove is necessary. The good news is that most modern gloves are about the same, so we recommend going off of colour preference!
Who to buy it for: Anyone with a drawer full of smelly $1 cotton gloves that they keep using.
Price: Most gloves should run you around $20 - $30
What is it: Specialty underwear made for runners. Runderwear’s flagship product is seamless underwear that’s designed to minimize the chance of chafing. We’ve put this to the test on distances up to about 50k, so far so good!
Who to buy it for: The running friend who keeps turning their body into human canvas of chafe marks.
Price: Underwear starts at $25
Where to buy: www.runderwear.com
What is it: BUFFs are multifunctional tubular pieces of headwear made in Spain. We like to refer to them as "that cool scarf/neck warmer/headband/balaclava/beanie/sun guard/face mask/hood/hariband/scrunchie thing." They come in a variety of different materials (microfibre, merino wool, polar fleece) and designs and are made for all seasons in mind.
Who to buy it for: Runners who keep coming home with a semi frostbitten face, or sunburned heads.
Price: From $25
What is it: The Lululemon uplifting hair scrunchie is a cheap and effective way to keep your hair out of your face, and your head in the game! It’s less than $10, and one size fits all.
Who to buy it for: Runners who have shoulder length or longer hair
Where to buy: https://shop.lululemon.com
Ciele Run Hat
What is it: The roadie version of the trail runner trucker hat (relax tail runners, we know that you wear these too!). Ciele hats and beanies (we call those touques up here in Canada eh!) are high quality, high visibility caps for all occasions. Pair these suckers with those Goodr shades that we mentioned earlier and you are pretty much the ultimate cliche in the best possible way.
Who to buy it for: Your trendiest running buddy.
Price: $40 - $60
Where to buy: https://cieleathletics.com
Specialty Running Accessories
These gift ideas may not be for every runner, but for the right person they can make for pretty fantastic gifts!
Mighty Audio Player
What is it: A small, portable music player that lets you play your spotify music offline, without a phone. This has, by far, been one of the best things that we purchased all year.
Who to buy it for: Your runner friends that love music but hate carrying around their phone (just make sure that they use spotify first).
Price: $69 - $85 (depending on model, we liked the smaller Mighty Vibe for running)
Where to Buy: https://bemighty.com
AfterShokz Trekz Air Headphones
What is it: Wireless headphones that use bone conduction technology (yes, that is a real thing) to leave your ears open when you wear them so that you can hear your music, but not completely tune out your environment.
One neat thing about these is that because of the open ear concept they are often allowed in races that do not allow traditional headphones for safety reasons.
Who to buy it for: These are great for urban runners and add an interesting aspect to the trails.
Salomon ADV Skin
What is it: A lightweight, comfortable running vest with room for, and easy access to all of your food, hydration, and gear. One of our staff members purchased it to use on some trail races this past summer and won't stop talking about how awesome it is. This vest comes in two sizes (5 Set and 12 Set) depending on how much water you want to carry, we've found that the 5 Set has more than enough room for most people.
Who to buy it for: Anyone who runs trails (it’s part of the uniform).
Price: Starting at $159
Where to buy: https://www.salomon.com
What is it: Glow in the dark armbands for extra visibility after it gets dark! There are hundreds of different versions of LED armbands online, we tend to prefer velcro straps with a slightly elastic band, but to be honest, they're pretty much all the same. Definitely one of our most used peices of gear!
Who to buy it for: Anyone planning on running around or after sunset.
Price: $10 - $20
Where to buy: Amazon offers a big selection. Or google around and take your pick!
What is it: It’s a lamp. On your head! There are a ton of different headlamps that work well. We happen to like the Petzl TIKKA because it’s lightweight, has a super long battery life, and can pair with a USB rechargeable battery.
Who to buy it for: Winter runners, or anyone planning on doing some distance trail running. When it gets dark at 4:30pm you best believe that you'll need some nighttime illumination, and you can never have too many headlamps!
Running Food & Nutrition Gift Ideas
Nathan Handheld Flask
Technically not food. It does assist in the delivery of food, so food section it is!
What is it: A waterbottle, that attaches to your hand with a mini gear pouch to stash gels/phones/tiny sandwiches into. There are a few different models on the market, most of our staff happen to use Nathan brand handhelds, but go with what you feel is right.
Who to buy it for: Minimalist runner friends who keep awkwardly taping gels to the inside of their shorts.
Price: $20 - $40
Where to Buy: www.nathansports.com
SaltStick Electolyte Capsules
What is it: SaltStick electrolyte salt capsules are meant to help stop cramping by providing a balance of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. We use these on all of our long runs. Our preference is the capsules over the chews (the chews didn’t have enough electrolytes for our liking).
Who to buy it for: Anyone planning a long run in the heat, or the person in your life that keeps spending too much time in cramp city.
Price: $29 for a bottle of 100
Where to Buy: http://saltstick.com/
What is it: That stuff that Kipchoge uses! Maurten is a hydrogel, which is basically a fancy way of saying liquid in your mouth, gel in your stomach (woahhhh science!). It’s apparently a pretty efficient way to stay fuelled on your runs AND avoid any potential stomach issues.
Full disclosure; this product is so new that we haven’t had a chance to test it out yet. We are very intrigued, and are secretly hoping that someone will buy us a bunch!
Who to buy it for: Hungry runners who need more mid-run carbohydrates in their life. Also science nerds.
Price: $3 - $5 per serving
Where to buy: www.maurten.com/
What is it: A more efficient gel. Each TORQ gel provides 30 grams of multiple-transportable carbohydrates, which is a significantly greater concentration than many brands on the market. More importantly, they come in a number of more mellow flavours that still go down easy deep into your long run.
Seriously. We’ve tested these on 10 hour + races this year and were still able to take them down while we were sugared out and secretly wishing for the sweet release of death.
Who to buy it for: That person who would rather bonk than suck back another gel that they don't like.
Price: $2.50 - $4 per gel
What is it: Tailwind is a powder that mixes with water to meet all your calorie, hydration, and electrolyte needs, without upsetting your stomach or making your taste buds revolt. Just toss it in a bottle or hydration pack, shake, and you’re good to go!
Who to buy it for: Your ultra running friend who won't stop telling you about all of the fun stomach problems they kept encountering 5 hours into their race earlier this year.
Price: From $25
Where to buy: www.tailwindnutrition.com/
What is it: Real Mushrooms are bulk organic mushroom extract powders made from 100% mushrooms. No fillers. No grain. Just pure mushrooms.
We got onto these guys after listening to a talk about medicinal mushrooms on the Ben Greenfield podcast (click here to listen). The Real Mushrooms 5 Defenders is a mix of Chaga, Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, and Turkey Tail extract powders.
Who to buy it for: The runner in your life that keeps getting a cold after their long runs.
Price: From $35
Where to buy: www.realmushrooms.com/
What is it: The most glorious substance known to humankind. The ultimate post race week recovery fuel. Can probably be used as currency in many situations.
Who to buy it for: The people that you hold most dear to you in your life. Also buy one for yourself, you deserve it.
Where to buy: The grocery store.
Last Minute Gift Idea
Yes. We only have a singular idea for last minute gifts.
If you're completely stuck we have one surefire go-to gift that is guaranteed to go over well. You may not get points for creativity, but hey, at least your runner will get some cool gear out of it!
Gift Card Their Local Run Store
Image of Vancouver Running Company (https://vanrunco.com/) high end image edits by RunGuides
What is it: The gift of open ended purchasing freedom. Our advice with gift cards is to buy them at local, specialty running shops. You’ll be supporting local business, and those are usually the stores that have the freshest, most high quality gear!
Who to buy it for: Your indecisive running friend who already has their eye on some specialty gear
Price: As much as you want! Remember, more $$ = more socks
Where to buy: Talk to your local running store!